The Hebrew and Greek that is translated in many English versions as “Day of the Lord” was rendered in Bengali as “Day of Judgement” in order to avoid confusion with the Lord’s day in the sense of Sunday.
The Greek term that is translated as a form of “save” in English is translated in Shipibo-Conibo with a phrase that means literally “make to live,” which combines the meaning of “to rescue” and “to deliver from danger,” but also the concept of “to heal” or “restore to health.”
In San Blas Kuna it is rendered as “help the heart,” in Laka, it is “take by the hand” in the meaning of “rescue” or “deliver,” in Huautla Mazatec the back-translation of the employed term is “lift out on behalf of,” in Anuak, it is “have life because of,” in Central Mazahua “be healed in the heart,” in Baoulé “save one’s head” (meaning to rescue a person in the fullest sense), in Guerrero Amuzgo “come out well,” in Northwestern Dinka “be helped as to his breath” (or “life”) (source: Bratcher / Nida), and in Nyongar barrang-ngandabat or “hold life” (source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang).
See also salvation.
The Greek that is typically transliterated in English as “Satan” is transliterated in Kipsigis as “Setani.” This is interesting because it is not only a transliteration that approximates the Greek sound but it is also an existing Kipsigis word with the meaning of “ugly” and “sneaking.” (Source: Earl Anderson in The Bible Translator 1950, p. 85ff. )
In Morelos Nahuatl it is translated as “envious one” (source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.) and in Tibetan: bdud (བདུད།), lit. “chief devil” (except in Rev. 20:2, where it is transliterated) (source: gSungrab website ).
The Greek that is often translated as “flesh” in English (when referring to the lower human nature) can, according to Nida (1947, p. 153) “very rarely be literally translated into another language. ‘My meat’ or ‘my muscle’ does not make sense in most languages.” He then gives a catalog of almost 30 questions to determine a correct translation for that term.
Accordingly, the translations are very varied:
- Highland Totonac: “like other men”
- Chicahuaxtla Triqui: “the path of sinful people”
- Mezquital Otomi: “of earthly kind” or “old life”
- Huehuetla Tepehua: “old life”
- Tzeltal: “body”
- Sayula Popoluca: “body that does evil”
- Tabasco Chontal: “old mind” (Source for this and above: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)
- Chichewa: “character that is inclined to evil things” (source: Ernst Wendland in The Bible Translator 2002, p. 319ff.)
- Huautla Mazatec: “the self” (Nida 1947, p. 248)
- Warao: “old obojona.” Obojona is a term that “includes the concepts of consciousness, will, attitude, attention and a few other miscellaneous notions” (source: Henry Osborn in The Bible Translator 1969, p. 74ff. ). See other occurrences of Obojona in the Warao New Testament.
The Toraja-Sa’dan translation uses a variety of terms for the translation of the same Greek term (click or tap here to see the rest of this insight)
- A form of kale tolinona or “corporeal” is for instance used in Romans 9:5 or Colossians 1:22 (and also in Genesis 6:3 and Exodus 30:32)
- A form of mentolinona or “the human” is for instance used in Matthew 16:17 or John 1:14
- Phrases that include pa’kalean or “bodiliness” (also: “human shape”) are for instance used in Romans 6:6 or 1 Peter 2:11 (as well as in Isa 52:14, Isa 53:2, and Lamentations 4:7
(Source: H. van der Veen in The Bible Translator 1952, p. 207ff. )
The Greek that is typically translated as “spirit” in English is translated in Warao as “obojona.” Obojona is a term that “includes the concepts of consciousness, will, attitude, attention and a few other miscellaneous notions.” (Source: Henry Osborn in The Bible Translator 1969, p. 74ff. )
See other occurrences of Obojona in the Warao New Testament.
Following are a number of back-translations of 1 Corinthians 5:5:
- Uma: “you just hand-him-over into the authority of the King of Evil-ones. Meaning, you order him to leave your fellowship, don’t allow him to attend-services with you. Do this so that he will get punishment in his body, and his soul will get goodness [salvation] when the Lord Yesus comes.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
- Yakan: “So-then from/by Almasi’s authority, hand over that sinner to the power of Satan (lit. leader of demons) so that his body will be punished so that his soul will be saved when our (incl.) Leader Isa Almasi will come here to judge mankind.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
- Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And I command you by means of the authority that our Lord Jesus Christ has given, that you abandon that person and you give him to Satan, so that his body might be destroyed, and then his soul will be saved from punishment by God in the future on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ judges people.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
- Kankanaey: “Turn-over that-aforementioned man to Satanas so that Satanas will hardship his body in order that his spirit will be saved on the day when the Lord will come again.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
- Tagbanwa: “that person who is behaving disgustingly, remove him from your group returning him to the control of Satanas, so that hopefully he will repent/be-sorry-for his indulging of his disgusting desires. For if it’s like that, he will indeed be saved on that day when the Lord judges.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
- Tenango Otomi: “Concerning this man who did the sin, throw him outside from where you are, he is to go where the people whom the devil commands live, there he will suffer in his body. Perhaps his soul will be saved when the day arrives when the Lord Jesus comes.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)
The Hebrew adonai in the Old Testament typically refers to God. The shorter adon (and in two cases in the book of Daniel the Aramaic mare [מָרֵא]) is also used to refer to God but more often for concepts like “master,” “owner,” etc. In English Bible translations all of those are translated with “Lord” if they refer to God.
In English Old Testament translations, as in Old Testament translations in many other languages, the use of Lord (or an equivalent term in other languages) is not to be confused with Lord (or the equivalent term with a different typographical display for other languages). While the former translates adonai, adon and mare, the latter is a translation for the tetragrammaton (YHWH) or the Name of God. See tetragrammaton (YHWH) and the article by Andy Warren-Rothlin in Noss / Houser, p. 618ff. for more information.
In the New Testament, the Greek term kurios has at least four different kinds of use:
- referring to “God,” especially in Old Testament quotations,
- meaning “master” or “owner,” especially in parables, etc.,
- as a form of address (see for instance John 4:11: “Sir, you have no bucket”),
- or, most often, referring to Jesus
In the first and fourth case, it is also translated as “Lord” in English.
Most languages naturally don’t have one word that covers all these meanings. According to Bratcher / Nida, “the alternatives are usually (1) a term which is an honorific title of respect for a high-ranking person and (2) a word meaning ‘boss’, ‘master’, or ‘chief.’ (…) and on the whole it has generally seemed better to employ a word of the second category, in order to emphasize the immediate personal relationship, and then by context to build into the word the prestigeful character, since its very association with Jesus Christ will tend to accomplish this purpose.”
When looking at the following list of back-translations of the terms that translators in the different languages have used for both kurios and adonai to refer to God and Jesus respectively, it might be helpful for English readers to recall the etymology of the English “Lord.” While this term might have gained an exalted meaning in the understanding of many, it actually comes from hlaford or “loaf-ward,” referring to the lord of the castle who was the keeper of the bread (source: Rosin 1956, p. 121).
Click or tap here to see the rest of this insight
Following are some of the solutions that don’t rely on a different typographical display (see above):
- Navajo: “the one who has charge”
- Mossi: “the one who has the head” (the leader)
- Uduk: “chief”
- Guerrero Amuzgo: “the one who commands”
- Kpelle: “person-owner” (a term which may be applied to a chief)
- Central Pame: “the one who owns us” (or “commands us”)
- Piro: “the big one” (used commonly of one in authority)
- San Blas Kuna: “the great one over all” (source for this and above: Bratcher / Nida)
- Guhu-Samane: Soopara (“our Supervisor”) (source: Ellis Deibler in Notes on Translation July, 1967, p. 5ff.)
- Balinese: “Venerated-one” (source: Reiling / Swellengrebel)
- Yanesha’: “the one who carries us” (source: Nida 1952, p. 159)
- Northern Emberá: Dadjirã Boro (“our Head”)
- Rarotongan: Atu (“master or owner of a property”)
- Gilbertese: Uea (“a person of high status invested with authority to rule the people”)
- Rotuman: Gagaja (“village chief”)
- Samoan: Ali’i (“an important word in the native culture, it derives from the Samoan understanding of lordship based on the local traditions”)
- Tahitian: Fatu (“owner,” “master”)
- Tuvalu: Te Aliki (“chief”)
- Fijian: Liuliu (“leader”) (source for this and six above: Joseph Hong in The Bible Translator 1994, p. 329ff. )
- Bacama: Həmə miye: “owner of people” (source: David Frank in this blog post )
- Hopi: “Controller” (source: Walls 2000, p. 139)
- Iyansi: Mwol. Mwol is traditionally used for the “chief of a group of communities and villages” with legal, temporal, and spiritual authority (versus the “mfum [the term used in other Bantu languages] which is used for the chief of one community of people in one village”). Mwol is also used for twins who are “treated as special children, highly honored, and taken care of like kings and queens.” (Source: Kividi Kikama in Greed / Kruger, p. 396ff.)
- Ghomala’: Cyəpɔ (“he who is above everyone,” consisting of the verb cyə — to surpass or go beyond — and pɔ — referring to people. No human can claim this attribute, no matter what his or her social status or prestige.” (Source: Michel Kenmogne in Theologizing in Context: An Example from the Study of a Ghomala’ Christian Hymn )
- Binumarien: Karaambaia: “fight-leader” (Source: Oates 1995, p. 255)
Warlpiri: Warlaljamarri (owner or possessor of something — for more information tap or click here)
We have come to rely on another term which emphasizes God’s essential nature as YHWH, namely jukurrarnu (see tetragrammaton (YHWH)). This word is built on the same root jukurr– as is jukurrpa, ‘dreaming.’ Its basic meaning is ‘timelessness’ and it is used to describe physical features of the land which are viewed as always being there. Some speakers view jukurrarnu in terms of ‘history.’ In all Genesis references to YHWH we have used Kaatu Jukurrarnu. In all Mark passages where kurios refers to God and not specifically to Christ we have also used Kaatu Jukurrarnu.
New Testament references to Christ as kurios are handled differently. At one stage we experimented with the term Watirirririrri which refers to a ceremonial boss of highest rank who has the authority to instigate ceremonies. While adequately conveying the sense of Christ’s authority, there remained potential negative connotations relating to Warlpiri ceremonial life of which we might be unaware.
Here it is that the Holy Spirit led us to make a chance discovery. Transcribing the personal testimony of the local Warlpiri pastor, I noticed that he described how ‘my Warlaljamarri called and embraced me (to the faith)’. Warlaljamarri is based on the root warlalja which means variously ‘family, possessions, belongingness’. A warlaljamarri is the ‘owner’ or ‘possessor’ of something. While previously being aware of the ‘ownership’ aspect of warlaljamarri, this was the first time I had heard it applied spontaneously and naturally in a fashion which did justice to the entire concept of ‘Lordship’. Thus references to Christ as kurios are now being handled by Warlaljamarri.” (Source: Stephen Swartz, The Bible Translator 1985, p. 415ff. )
- Mairasi: Onggoao Nem (“Throated One” — “Leader,” “Elder”) or Enggavot Nan (“Above-One”) (source: Enggavoter 2004)
- Obolo: Okaan̄-ene (“Owner of person(s)”) (source: Enene Enene)
- Angami Naga: Niepu (“master,” “owner”)
- Lotha Naga: Opvui (“owner of house / field / cattle”) — since both “Lord” and YHWH are translated as Opvui there is an understanding that “Opvui Jesus is the same as the Opvui of the Old Testament”
- Ao Naga: Kibuba (“human master,” “teacher,” “owner of property,” etc.) (source for this and two above: Nitoy Achumi in The Bible Translator 1992 p. 438ff. )
- Seediq: Tholang, loan word from Min Nan Chinese (the majority language in Taiwan) thâu-lâng (頭儂): “Master” (source: Covell 1998, p. 248)
- Thai: phra’ phu pen cao (พระผู้เป็นเจ้า) (divine person who is lord) or ong(kh) cao nay (องค์เจ้านาย) (<divine classifier>-lord-boss) (source: Stephen Pattemore)
- Arabic often uses different terms for adonai or kurios referring to God (al-rabb الرب) and kurios referring to Jesus (al-sayyid الـسـيـد). Al-rabb is also the term traditionally used in Arabic Christian-idiom translations for YHWH, and al-sayyid is an honorary term, similar to English “lord” or “sir” (source: Andy Warren-Rothlin).
- Tamil also uses different terms for adonai/kurios when referring to God and kurios when referring to Jesus. The former is Karttar கர்த்தர், a Sanskrit-derived term with the original meaning of “creator,” and the latter in Āṇṭavar ஆண்டவர், a Tamil term originally meaning “govern” or “reign” (source: Natarajan Subramani).
- Burunge: Looimoo: “owner who owns everything” (in the Burunge Bible translation, this term is only used as a reference to Jesus and was originally used to refer to the traditional highest deity — source: Michael Endl in Holzhausen / Riderer 2010, p. 48)
- Aguacateco: Ajcaw ske’j: “the one to whom we belong and who is above us” (source: Rita Peterson in Holzhausen / Riderer 2010, p. 49)
- Konkomba: Tidindaan: “He who is the owner of the land and reigns over the people” (source: Lidorio 2007, p. 66)
Law (2013, p. 97) writes about how the Ancient Greek Septuagint‘s translation of the Hebrew adonai was used by the New Testament writers as a bridge between the Old and New Testaments: “Another case is the use of kurios referring to Jesus. For Yahweh (in English Bibles: ‘the Lord‘), the Septuagint uses kurios. Although the term kurios usually has to do with one’s authority over others, when the New Testament authors use this word from the Septuagint to refer to Jesus, they are making an extraordinary claim: Jesus of Nazareth is to be identified with Yahweh.”
See also Father / Lord.
The structure of the Greek sentence is loose, as we stated in the comments at the beginning of this section. But it seems best to link deliver this man with I have already passed judgment. This man is literally “such a man,” but only one case is under consideration. The meaning, then, is “such a bad man,” not “any such man” (compare 2 Cor 2.6-7).
Deliver … to is often used of people being handed over to evil powers (see Rom. 1.24, 26, 28, where Good News Bible has “given … over”). It is also used of someone being betrayed or handed over to his enemies (see 11.23, “betrayed,” and compare Mark 14.42). However, Revised Standard Version‘s or Good News Bible‘s translations are more natural in this context.
Satan may need a glossary note in some languages (compare 7.5; 2 Cor 2.11; 11.14; 12.7). Parola Del Signore: La Bibbia in Lingua Corrente‘s note is as follows: “Devil. In the New Testament, refers to the most direct enemy of God, the tempter and seducer of mankind. He is also called Beelzebul or Satan (Mark 3.22, 23).” The present context shows that Paul is thinking of a spiritual power.
Flesh (Good News Bible‘s “body”) is contrasted with spirit in this context. The thought may be that the guilty man is condemned to physical death by being thrown out of the Christian fellowship (compare 11.30; Acts 5.1-11). Alternatively, “What Paul was desiring by having this man put outside the believing community was the destruction of what was ‘carnal’ in him…” (Fee). In any case, the purpose of punishing him physically now is that he may be spiritually saved when Christ returns in judgment (see 3.13). Good News Bible has added “his” before “body,” as it is implied in the text and is a more natural translation.
The clauses for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit … may be restructured in the following way: “so that even though his body is destroyed, his spirit may be saved” or “so that even though Satan destroys his body, Jesus will save his spirit.”
Day of the Lord Jesus: as in verse 4, many Greek manuscripts have “of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The UBS Greek text, however, has “the Lord.” This is probably what Paul wrote, and Good News Bible has translated it this way (also New International Version, New Jerusalem Bible, Revised English Bible). Some translators may need to render the phrase day of the Lord Jesus as “the day when our Lord returns” or “the day of the Lord’s judgment,” so as to avoid giving the impression that it is a day that belongs to the Lord. Translators should also avoid any phrase that might be understood as meaning “Sunday.”
Quoted with permission from Ellingworth, Paul and Hatton, Howard A. A Handbook on Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, 2nd edition. (UBS Handbook Series). New York: UBS, 1985/1994. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .